Whether you’re heading to the July 4th Fest at Six Flags Over Texas or the Fort Worth Fourth of July festival for a fireworks show this Independence Day, be sure to bring your camera so you can capture one of the best parts of the celebration.
Many people believe that taking photographs of fireworks will be too hard and not worth the hassle, but it’s really not as hard to take a picture of these extravagant explosions as you’d think. While there are some challenges involved and steps that should be take, photographing fireworks is far from impossible.
To help you capture the pyrotechnic display of your choice this July 4th, our DFW photographers are here to share some tips and tricks for photographing fireworks.
Change camera settings
The first thing you’ll want to do before photographing fireworks is to make sure your camera settings are correct. By turning your flash off and putting your camera into “manual mode,” you can control the exposure and aperture of the camera yourself. Typically, a good place to start is with manual settings is ISO 100, f/11, at ½ second. If you’re photos aren’t turning out right, adjust the shutter speed accordingly but keep the aperture the same. Shooting fireworks in “bulb mode” can also be an effective way of capturing the explosion at its peak. In this mode, you’ll want to hit the shutter as the firework is launching and hold it until the burst fades.
Scout out spots
Especially if you’re going to a fireworks show that is expected to be crowded, it’s never a bad move to arrive early and scout out the best vantage points for photographing the show. Keep foreground and background in mind and how you might want to incorporate them into your photos. Focus on the area of the sky where the fireworks will be and manually set it before it gets dark. This will ensure that you’re ready to shoot as soon as the fireworks start. For the most comfortable shooting conditions, choose a vantage point that is upwind from the fireworks’ smoke.
Adjust shutter speeds
You’ll want to use a tripod to keep your camera steady while you’re shooting the fireworks show. A shutter release cord can also help keep your camera motionless. Also make sure your camera is level on the tripod so that horizon in your photo is on a straight line.
Vary your shots
You can try to vary your shots by changing the focal length setting of your camera. The length you’ll want will depend on how far away you are from the fireworks’ burst. For a tight shot with a lot of detail, try using at least a 200mm zoom lens. But remember that each time you change your focal length you’ll have to refocus your shot.